|The Hungarian Parliament building rivals any in the World.|
|Grey covers grandeur. Spot the bullet holes.|
Back street Budapest is like a walk back in time to a post war period. It is a city still covered with the charcoal black of industrial pollution and bullet holes of popular uprising. The beauty of the past radiates beneath this gentle cloak, and this drape gives the city an allure of romance.The air pollution that created the tarnish has been cleaned up but the scars remain; Budapest is a city where the broken ain't necessarily mended. If this was a wealthier place it would sparkle enough to rival it’s old empire partner Vienna, but it is not. The ascension to the EU in 2004 has brought merits to what is currently a declining economy, but it did not bring the euro (nor is wanted) or the attendant flood of investment that has accompanied it's arrival in other Eastern European cities. And, for the person seeking something different, it is this distinction that gives the city it’s unique feel of a walk in the past. And, what a rich past it is: overthrown empires, kings, revolutions, nazi and communist brutality and a golden age of neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau architectural flourish (1860-1918).
|Bikes and lights at Mandala hostel.|
|Central courtyards feature in Budapest's buildings|
|Art Noveaux door to courtyard garden. |
|Art studio come dentist|
|Neon lit Stairway|
|Artist woodworkers stop for a rollie|
Music, architecture, politics, art and history. It's only been a short visit to Budapest but enough to wet the whistle for a return journey. My last day is spent in one of the cities many spa's soaking in 32 degree waters and sunbathing. Why on earth would I want go home? but that is always the travellers ache; serendering to the temporary joy of transitory pleasures. But, I can at least still savour the sounds and stimulation of my memories in Bohemian Budapest.
|Frederick, a volunteer at Mandala hostel sings: "travellers paradise"|
|Artists at work in Maria Utca studio|
|Building detail. The Grime and the glorious.|
|Age and youth. Outside the National museum -well worth a visit.|
Photography, text and interviews by M. Perry